I'm ready to build my desktop, but I'm not sure how to get the antivirus on it. Wouldn't going online to get the antivirus put my computer at risk (seeing as I won't have antivirus at that point)? Also, Bitdefender free or Avast (or other)? I'm running Windows 7 Pro, by the way. Thanks!
I agree with the comment about getting the AV program in advance, and just slapping it onto a USB. That said, just getting onto the net doesn't expose you to viruses. Plus: on the new install, Windows Defender should be running by default, so you will have some protection. The first thing you'll be doing, is installing updates...a rather tedious process that takes HOURS. After that, tho, if you don't have your AV of choice on a stick, then just go to whichever one you've chosen, download it, and finally, let it run a full system scan. It may actually not take all that long, as you don't have that much stuff on there at that point.
Avast has been getting poorer reviews; Avira has been getting better ones recently. I've been using BitDefender for a few years; it got a bit loopy for a while, but it's done well for me. (This is a paid version, tho.)
For a good preload of free/open source applications, go to ninite.com. Select what you want, and download a small exe file.
On the new PC, just run that exe. It will go to all the relevant sites, download what you've selected, and install it.